#EmojiIRL: Digital Feelings Come To Life
by Ateqah Khaki
As someone who takes feelings—and expression of all kinds—very seriously, emoji has had a profound impact on the way that I communicate. Somehow these yellow orbs of expression help convey something that words alone can’t, adding a bit of color (literally and figuratively) to the relative flatness of most e-communications. Emoji help express complex emotions—sarcasm, irony, happiness, fear—in the same way that facial expressions or body language do in face-to-face communications.
And let’s face it: they’re just plain cute and fun.
With over a dozen characters involving a heart shape in some way, it’s no surprise that emoji come in handy especially when attempting to flirt in digital spaces. I recently found myself in such a situation, communicating with a man I had yet to meet in real life. When I found my feelings growing stronger, it was much less scary to send a heart-eyed emoji than to type out, “I think I like you.” My emoji expressions also left room for interpretation, in case the way that I felt online didn’t carry over to real life.
When it came time to meet in person, I thought it would be funny and charming to make a construction paper emoji mask…